The man just clutches his coat more tightly.
He tries raining and snowing on him, and the man cinches his belt and opens his umbrella.
Finally, exasperated, the wind gives the sun a try.
The sun simply shines down brightly and the man removes his coat of his own free will.
The lesson is to first give people what they want if you want them to give you what you want.
Don't demand, don't insist; offer, instead.
So let's consider what's going on at a trade show: it's hot, it's stuffy, there are hundreds of people there and the people walking around would probably love to just stop and relax for a moment.
Chances are, before they reach your trade show display, they're already tired and not interested in a sales pitch.
Here's a simple trick that can make trade show displays an oasis in this environment: free water.
Get a water cooler and some paper cups and offer free water to folks who walk by.
Sure, nine out of ten of them will drink the water, thank you, and keep on walking.
Some of them might not be interested in what you're selling in the first place, but for those who are looking at trade show booths for what you're selling, imagine the difference a cup of water will make.
First of all, they're hydrated.
This basic, fundamental craving for hydration has been sated for the time being, and they're going to be a lot more willing to talk business without wondering where the nearest soda machine is.
Secondly, you're putting them in a good mood right off the bat.
It's all about making people want to come to you.
Some people set up their booths with the idea that they just want to be better than the other booths.
The reality, though, is that when your prospects have been bombarded with banners and signs and booths and sales pitches all day long, when they've been on their feet for hours, they're hungry, thirsty and tired, they're not looking for the "best" booth, they're looking for creature comforts, they're looking for a moment of peace and quiet in the noise and chaos of the trade show.
Don't hit them up with a sales pitch right when they walk in.
Let them drink their water and take a moment to relax, and if they ask about your samples, which should be clearly in view, that's when you can open up to them.
Here's another simple trick to draw folks to your trade show display: Keep it cool.
We don't just mean prop up a fan so people can cool off, though that's a good start.
Rather, don't try to attract prospects with flash.
Bring them in with a calm, subdued and relaxed setup.
A few samples on a table, some brochures, a sign and a couple chairs is all you really need.
People who set up boomboxes blaring sales pitches, televisions showing their animated logo and wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men are only scaring people off.
Again, trade shows can be stressful, and you have to consider what people really want when they're attending one.
They go in hopes of finding a great deal on whatever it is they're looking to buy, but once they're there, they really want a little peace and quiet here and there, a moment to themselves and a cup of water.
Give people what they're looking for and they'll do the same for you.